Mar 3, 2024

Two attitudes to adopt in Karma Yoga

 Until around a couple of years back, I had these nagging questions - 

Why is life unfair to certain people? 

Why are people with good intentions and those who work hard not getting the recognition they deserve?

Why are people who abide by ethics, moral values and social responsibility not getting the spotlight?

But after learning about the law of Karma, the emotions behind these questions subsided to a large extent.

I no longer get affected too much by people who "seem" to be winning through unethical or unfair practices.

I no longer get angry with people who fool the common man (or woman) with the glossy, attractive outer presentation and marketing but empty promises when it comes to the actual value being delivered.

I no longer feel triggered when people manipulate or play the corporate politics game to rise the ranks while pulling others down.

I now strongly believe in the concept of Karma and that we will pay a price for all our actions. This belief brings peace and stability to our daily interactions with the outside world. This way of thinking helps to reduce the external influence on our emotions to a considerable extent.

The next stage was to understand how one goes about their duties and responsibilities without getting impacted by the outcomes (or the struggle towards it). 

In times of social media, many of us might put in a lot of effort to convey our thoughts using articles/reels/videos but might not get the reach and engagement we expect. 

At the workplace, we might want to make a meaningful impact through our work but the ideas might get shot down due to various reasons (ego, politics, lack of business potential, priorities, lack of resources, etc).

At our homes, we might put in a lot of effort towards taking care of everyone's needs but we may not get the required appreciation or words of gratitude.

While pursuing an introductory course on Vedanta, I learned about two attitudes that one adopts in the context of Karma Yoga. 

(1) Ishvararprana bhava - every action we do becomes an offering to the Supreme Divine. With this attitude, our actions become more mindful and attentive. We take care of every little detail and not rush to wrap things up. We pursue the action with so much love and care and dedicate the result to the Divine.

(2) Ishvaraprasada bhava - the fruit of every action is considered sacred and received with contentment and without criticism. The fruit we receive may not be what we expect, but we receive it with a sense of gratitude. We also acknowledge that the Supreme has better plans for the future if something doesn't go as planned.

It is hard to explain in words how much of a perspective shift these two attitudes have brought in for me ever since I started practicing them. I'm sure it will take years of conscious practice to make these attitudes the default ones in any work that we do. But the first step is to get started with these attitudes in simple tasks - cooking, organizing a cupboard, writing an article, learning a new topic, preparing a work presentation, etc.

Immerse yourself fully in the task and dedicate the end output to the Supreme. Whatever be the fruit of the action, receive it with gratitude.

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